Friday, January 11, 2008

Prof. L.K. Dadhich -hats off to you

Professor L.K. Dadhich

Professor Laxmi Kant Dadhich is the green man of India and combines in his person an Environmentalist, Botanist, Ecologist, and an Information Technologist. He is an M.Sc. in Botany, M.A.D.E. in Distance Education, B.J.M.C. in Information Technology, Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Science and is an orator par-excellent. He has thirty-two years' research and teaching experience. He is an academic counselor too. He has been writings scripts for Radio and TV. He has chaired the technical sessions related to multimedia technology in distance education organised by UNESCO and IGNOU.He has conducted EIS for setting up industries. He was commissioned officer as Squadron Leader in the Indian Air Force (till 1999). He trained the youth in environmental conservation, education and global scenario and taught on topics related to Aviation. He has since retired from the position. He was the Senior Coordinator for a project sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India on Environmental Awareness. He was the Senior Advisor to a film on Environment produced by the Reyerson, Canada. He was a Consultant with a film 'Greening the Desert' produced by the Indian Army and TV Centre, Govt. of India. He also acted as the Consultant with Multimedia Technology & Distance Education. In Singapore, he worked on Environment management plans at a Seminar/Workshop organised by IUCN and IES; in Nepal he acted as a Research Coordinator of a Workshop 'Environment Education and Attitudes towards Environment Conservation in Developing Countries' organised by ISTE. For the last 33 years he has been working closely with several research centres and universities on issues of EIA, EIS, environment protection, water quality, pollution and other related matters, and in particular he has been having exchange relations with members from ISTE, Varanasi; JAC, New Delhi; GEAG, Gorakhpur;CEE, Ahmedabad; and CSE, New Delhi. He has been providing communication consultancy in a regular manner to UNEP, ELCI, Nairobi, Kenya. He has been a Fellow of the United Writers Association of India(FUWAI), Chennai, and Life Member Fellow of the National Institute of Ecology, New Delhi.

His biographical sketches were published in Reference Asia, Indo-Arab Who's Who, Indo-America Who's Who, Indo-European Who's Who, Learned Asia Who's Who, Asia-Pacific Who's Who, and 20th Century Admirable Achievers. He has published 37 research papers in journals and books of international repute and authored 11 books/reports, besides giving talks/programs telecast/broadcast by the AIR/TV. He has supervised 13 dissertations/project works/Ph.D. theses.

He was bestowed upon the WEC-IIEE-IAEWP International Award by the President of India for his concept of environmental citizenship; award for Environment Protection and Conservation by the C.M., Rajasthan; Swarn Puraskar by ISCD, Rohtak, Haryana; award for imparting training to the youth for Environmental Conservation by the Environment Minister, Rajasthan; Bharat Mata award by Astro Research project, Kolkata; award for forest extension activities in Kota Distt. by the Forest Minister, Rajasthan. He received Commendations from the Director-General of NCC and from the District authorities for his work in the field of environment and youth leadership training. Honours were conferred upon him by various organisations like TEEJ, Lions Club, Thalassemia Society, Blood Bank Society, etc.

He is the member of Environment Liaison Centre International, Nairobi, Kenya; Global Forum for NGO's for Natural Disaster Reduction (GFNDR) Yokohama, Tokyo, Japan; International Society for Tropical Ecology, Varanasi; Gorakhpur Environment Action Group, Gorakhpur; National Institute of Ecology, New Delhi; Centre for Science and Environment , New Delhi; Technocrat Council of India, Kota; Environment Society (Paryavaran Parishad), Kota; Society for Eco-Balance, Bhopal ; Joint Assistance Centre, New Delhi;and Paryavaran Vahini, Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi.

The citizens of India and the world at large is proud of having such a multi-dimensional personality among them. Naturally, he has become a role-model for the young men and women aspiring to lead a meaningful life while remaining closer to the mother nature. All of us wish him a long and healthy life and should learn the meaning of an ideal life while sitting at his feet.

S.C. Scientists Find New Shark Species

The Associated Press
Monday, June 12, 2006; 11:26 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A new genetically distinct species of hammerhead shark, the ninth recognized species of hammerhead, has been discovered off the South Carolina coast, scientists say.

The new species appears to be rare and lives off the South Carolina coast. Classified under the genus sphyrna, will be called the "cryptic species" for the time being.

This is an undated photo provided by the University of South Carolina Media Relations, shows a new species of hammerhead shark found off the coast of South Carolina. Joe Quattro, a biology professor at the Univerity of South Carolina, worked with Jim Grady of the University of New Orleans and Trey Driggers of the Natioal Marine Fisheries Service in making the find. (AP Photo/Univeristy of South Carolina)
This is an undated photo provided by the University of South Carolina Media Relations, shows a new species of hammerhead shark found off the coast of South Carolina. Joe Quattro, a biology professor at the Univerity of South Carolina, worked with Jim Grady of the University of New Orleans and Trey Driggers of the Natioal Marine Fisheries Service in making the find. (AP Photo/Univeristy of South Carolina) (AP)

The abuser-fee idea has flunked with voters, and we should . . . move on, Gov. Timothy Kaine said. (AP)

Joe Quattro, a biology professor at the University of South Carolina, worked with Jim Grady of the University of New Orleans and Trey Driggers of the National Marine Fisheries Service in making the find.

Quattro discovered the new species while studying along the coast with biologists from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Quattro and his colleagues found that genes in the mitochondrial DNA _ the DNA passed from mother sharks to their offspring _ differed significantly among sharks that were classified as scalloped hammerhead sharks.

The studies also revealed that another independent genetic marker differed substantially between the two groups of scalloped hammerheads.

"This cryptic shark was genetically distinct," said Quattro, whose research was published recently in the journal, Marine Biology.

Scalloped hammerheads are common along the coast and sharks of the cryptic species were found from Florida to North Carolina. The newborn cryptic sharks, however, were found mainly along the South Carolina coast.

"The apparent abundance of the cryptic species in coastal South Carolina could be a result of sampling, but it might also highlight the fact that the South Carolina bays are the more important nursery grounds for the cryptic species," Quattro said.

Something as simple as the salinity of the water might explain why the sharks prefer the South Carolina coast, said Quattro, who plans a field trip this summer to tag the cryptic sharks so scientists can learn more about them.

Because they seem to have a narrow geographic distribution, the sharks may be at greater risk for extinction.

"If South Carolina's waters are the primary nursery grounds for the cryptic species and females gather here to reproduce, these areas should be conservation priorities," Quattro said.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Foods that Heal

We've all heard about the protective power of food. Some foods like fruits and vegetables are good for us and some elements of our diet, like too much fat, are bad for us. At Enhancing Foods to Protect Health, a new research center in Indiana, scientists are working to perfect food that may one day be designed based on an individual's health needs.
Excess fat consumption has long been the bane of those seeking to be healthy but fats do play beneficial roles in the body. Generally speaking, based on the common diet in the United States, too much omega-6 fatty acids are consumed and too little omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are common in corn and soy oils while omega-3 fatty acids are common in canola and fish oils. This is crucial, as the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids should be in the range of 4 to 1 up to 10 to 1.
Diets in the U.S. have shifted such that the ratio is around 25 to 1. With such a high ratio, the risk for some types of cancer and arteriosclerosis increase dramatically.
The researchers at the Center are exploring ways to produce so called "designer eggs" with a better-balanced ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids.
Purdue food science Professor Bruce Watkins and graduate student Amy Devitt check the color and texture of eggs that have a better-balanced fat content.
In the study, hens were fed supplemental conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in an attempt to see if the eggs produced by the hens would contain a better balance of fatty acids. And indeed, those hens fed the supplemental CLA produced eggs with a higher level of CLA than hens that were not fed the CLA.
The researchers then fed the hens a blend of two fatty acids. The hens were fed a combination of docosahexaenoic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and the conjugated linoleic acid. Again, the levels of the beneficial fatty acids were higher in those hens fed the supplements versus those who were not given the supplements.
The researchers hope that these studies will lead to the development of foods that have a higher ratio of beneficial fatty acids to nonbeneficial fatty acids.
Work still remains to be done as the eggs produced by the hens had a somewhat tough yolk and a very different texture from traditional eggs. The researchers are optimistic that with fine-tuning of the diet of the hens, an egg with the proper fat balance as well as a good taste could be produced.
What do you think? How might "designer foods" decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer? Do you think this is the best way to reduce risk or are there better ways? Come on over to the Biology Forum to share your thoughts, feelings, and opinions. 'Til next time...

Brain Power

Researchers at Duke University and MCP Hahnemann University have developed a technique for using brain signals to control a robotic arm. This feat was accomplished by recording signals from electrodes that were implanted in the brains of rats. It is believed that this new method may some day offer hope to those suffering from spinal cord injuries who have prosthetic limbs. Theoretically, the electrodes could be implanted into the brain to allow the person to have control over limb movement, much as they would an actual limb. In the experiment, rats were taught to operate a robotic arm by pressing a lever. Pressing the lever resulted in the rats receiving a reward. Researchers recorded the neuronal activity responsible for muscle movement using implanted electrode arrays. Once the specific groups of neurons that were used for muscle movement when pressing the lever were identified, researchers changed the control of the robotic arm from the lever to the electrode implants. The rats promptly learned that they could move the robotic arm to receive a reward without having to press the lever. All they had to do was to activate the particular neurons in the brain that they had previously used when physically pressing the lever. This ground-breaking study established the first tangible evidence that neuron signals can be used to control external devises. Prior to this study, scientists suspected that neuronal control of external devices was possible but there was no demonstrable proof. Researchers speculate that the knowledge gained from this study could be used to develop new techniques to treat those suffering from a variety of disabilities including spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and locked-in syndrome. Since those with locked-in syndrome may have intact thinking skills but no ability to interact with their environment, external control of devices through neurons may be particularly helpful. The researchers also strongly emphasize that there are still significant technical obstacles that must be overcome before any attempts at human clinical trials can begin. They do however believe that these obstacles are not impossible to overcome.

Thursday, January 3, 2008



Eastern gorilla

Eastern gorilla

For years the world's largest primate has been portrayed as a fearsome and aggressive beast. But gorillas are actually gentle giants, who have strong family ties and feed on nothing more sinister than vegetation.

Blue whale

Blue whale

The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have lived - bigger, even, than the dinosaurs. Yet they are elusive creatures, and little is known about their lives.

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